Friday, May 10, 2013

Better than a Restaurant: Stuffed Crust Pizza


I know its super easy to call Dominos or Pizza Hut, make an order and wait for the delivery guy...

But, given our current employment situation (or lack thereof) a pizza delivery is just a luxury that we can't afford...

So, I ask you, WHY pay $20 for something that you can make for around $5-7 at home (depending on the amount of ingredients you use)?  Plus...if you make it at home, you get the added peace of mind that comes from knowing exactly what ingredients are in the foods you're eating....

So, without further ado, I give you the one recipe that will make you want to forget about calling for a pizza delivery (at least my husband thinks so...and he is practically a food critic...) comes your picture tutorial!

You WANT to start your sauce first- the longer it gets to simmer, the more flavorful it will be.

Into your blender you want to place:
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes (juice and all)
1 tsp of sugar
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 clove garlic minced...)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Blend until smooth, then place into a sauce pan and add 1 bay leaf. Heat on medium low heat...
You will want this sauce to simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes (but you'll get a good 30 minutes while  you prepare the dough...)

So...while this simmers...let's make some dough!

place 3/4 cup warm water (not too hot, we don't want to kill the yeast), 1 TBS yeast, and 1 TBS sugar in a large-ish mixing bowl. Let it sit until the yeast starts to bubble (like in the picture below.) Take this time to preheat your oven to 350.
(It will take anywhere from 3-5 minutes for the yeast to bubble, the bubbling means that its activated, alive, and feeding on the sugar.) Once its bubbling, use your handy 3/4 cup to put 1 scoop of flour into the water. Mix well and then add another 3/4 cup (that's right you will need 1 1/2 c flour in total) Slowly adding the flour like this and mixing well in between scoops will make it so you barely have to knead the dough at all to make it smooth.  Once the flour is as mixed as you can get it with your plastic spatula/wooden spoon/whatever...comes the fun part (because the messy part of cooking is always the funnest part...) Get your hands in there and make sure that the flour is completely worked into the dough and the dough is smooth.
Once the dough is smooth, let it sit for a few minutes, the less you handle it, the more chance the yeast has to work its magic quickly to make the dough fluffy (like 5 or 10), it will be slightly sticky and that is totally okay... It should look something like this:
Now that its rested, roll out your dough. Create a round and go to town...I usually just spray my pizza pan and roll the dough out directly on it. You will want the rolled dough to have edges that go a 1/4 inch off of the pizza pan.
 (Adding sarcasm) Now here comes the REALLY hard part...
You are going to take some string cheese sticks out of their individual packets and cut them in half lengthwise (my 14 inch pizza pan needed 4 1/2 of them) and place them on the outside of of the pan on top of the dough.
 Then comes the tricky part of the hard're going to roll the excess dough edge over the top of the string cheese and pat the edge down into the inside of the dough circle to close off the cheesy goodness so it can't escape during the cooking process.
 After the cheese is safely secured, take a handy dandy fork and poke holes in the middle of the circle to keep the dough from bubbling up as it cooks.
 Then, sprinkle garlic powder and parmesan cheese over the crust as evenly as possible, all the way out to the edges.
 Place the crust in the preheated oven and let it bake for 15 minutes. It will not be completely golden brown, but it will be cooked enough that it can hold up against whatever toppings you throw at it.
 Meanwhile, your sauce should be reduced enough to use on the crust. It should be thick enough that when you run your spoon through the pan, it leaves an open spot for a little while before the liquid redistributes itself, like so... Remove the Bay leaf and pour it over your now baked crust.
 Put a thin layer of toppings over the sauce....
 Then the cheese...and another thin layer of toppings (too thick and you won't be able to pick it up to eat it.)
 Crank your oven up to 400-425( if your oven runs hot, you probably only want to use 400) let it cook for another 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbled up and slightly browned. and VOILA! Pizza deliciousness!

*Note- you can use tomato sauce instead of canned diced tomatoes...for a more robust sauce, you can use italian stewed tomatoes instead of regular diced.
**Another note- I used a colby jack cheese, but my husband prefers this dish with mozzarella, we just didn't happen to have any in the fridge. For a more "restaurant style" pizza, you probably want to use mozzarella, but if your kids and family are anything like mine, pizza is pizza, no matter what cheese you use. Jeff still ate it and thought it was delicious regardless of the cheese choice.
*** Another Another note- use whatever toppings your little heart desires. We just always happen to have pepperoni on hand (my 18 month old LOVES it as a snack) and that happened to be ALL we had on hand tonight. I would have loved to add some bell peppers, olives and mushrooms to make an almost supreme pizza...
****Another Another Another note- if you don't have string cheese, you don't HAVE to do stuffed crust with this recipe, just take the dough edge to the end of your pan or take it out the 1/4 inch and roll it over to give a more "bready" end to knaw on if you happen to be a family that LOVES their crust...

Bon Appetit until next time!!!

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

This looks awesome! Thanks for sharing. Definitely gonna have to try it out!